Arsenal dispel transfer fears after Mikel Arteta masterminds derby win over Tottenham

Arteta delivers verdict on Arsenal's win over Tottenham

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Arsenal’s North London derby win over Tottenham appeared to have vindicated a decision made by Mikel Arteta and Edu during the summer transfer window. The Gunners beat Nuno Espirito Santo’s side 3-1 in Sunday’s Premier League clash thanks to goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka.

Arsenal’s front four were all impressive, with Martin Odegaard pulling the strings amid huge holes in the Spurs midfield.

The summer signing from Real Madrid created Arsenal’s first goal, feeding Saka who found an unmarked Smith Rowe arriving in the box.

It was Smith Rowe who turned provider next as he set up Aubameyang’s goal, and the 20-year-old was also involved in the build-up for the third, as Saka capitalised on a slip by Harry Kane to finish off an Arsenal counter-attack.

Arteta gleefully celebrated on the sidelines, and with his team starting to play the way he wants them to, the manager will no doubt feel vindicated that Smith Rowe and Odegaard played so well together.

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Before the Gunners signed Odegaard on a permanent deal from Madrid, there were doubts over how he and Smith Rowe would fit into Arteta’s plans.

With both having played in the No10 role last season when Odegaard was on loan, it was feared by some that signing the Norwegian on a permanent deal could hamper Smith Rowe’s progress.

Club legend Martin Keown expressed reservations over the £35million move in the summer, saying he believed Smith Rowe was the “better player” in the position and questioning  whether Arteta should have been prioritising other areas.

“Odegaard came in after Boxing Day,” Keown told talkSPORT last month.


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“Yes the results improved largely. He played 16 times, nine starts, five [substitute appearances], one goal and two assists [sic].

“I think Smith Rowe is a better player in that position. But if the manager feels this Odegaard can bring something extra to the group then time will tell again.”

Sunday’s game was an example of Arteta’s vision in action. With Odegaard playing centrally and Smith Rowe on the left, Arsenal’s attack had balance with Aubameyang leading the line and Saka marauding down the right flank where he impressed so much last term.

Smith Rowe and Odegaard had played as twin 10s against Burnley, but to lesser effect with the Norwegian’s free-kick proving the difference at Turf Moor.

At the Emirates on Sunday, the Gunners’ attack looked much more potent, and Arteta’s gameplan may just have answered Keown’s concerns.

Tougher tests will come, of course, than a Tottenham team who were able to put up little resistance in a poor first half for Nuno’ side.

But Arteta was rightly pleased with the way his players executed the game plan – and suggested that Sunday’s win would be a sign of things to come.

“It’s not about winning, it’s the way we’ve done it against a top team with top players and it’s the most special day when we play our rival,” he said afterwards.

“Today is one example of what we are trying to do, now we have to be consistent and do it than we have in some aspects of the game.”

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